Model Advice – Model Agency How Tos

by pazza

As spring is getting closer, many of my readers are thinking about joining a model agency; it is true – agencies experience an inflow of applicants during spring and beginning of summer. So I thought it may be a good idea to share some of my industry experience and help my readers with a few pointers.

Before arriving to a casting call, get in touch with the agency to check what you should bring with you and what dress code you should follow. Many modeling agencies will ask you to show up at a casting call with no make up and hair pulled back in a pony tail (for example, Ford). This set up brings a lot of girls anxiety because they are just so used to wearing cosmetics on a daily basis. But the reasoning behind it is simple – modeling agencies don’t care about how good you are in styling, applying eye-shadow or picking the right color of lipstick – all they want to see is the structure of your features. I have signed a few models with Ford and many with local modeling agencies, so I know how nervous girls get. If the notion of having no make-up on really stresses you out – do very minimal – some mascara and lip balm. It all comes down to your confidence level – you should be projecting an image of a strong individual , and if a little bit of lip balm helps with it, so be it.

When interviewing with an agency, many people get so intimidated that they forget that this is a two-way process. Sure an agency has to see potential in you, but at the same time you should decide if the agency is legitimate and if you time investment is worthwhile. Here are a few questions you should ask when talking to an agency representative:

1. Before coming in for an interview/casting call check the Small Claims Court to make sure there are no lawsuits filed against the agency. This is your first step to narrowing down scams.
2. Ask the agency representative about the ways models are promoted. What strategies and channels do they use?
3. Ask for names of companies the agency works with. Assess if this is the type of work you want to be doing.
4. Ask for recent tearsheets to review the types of projects they are booking their models for as well as to check that their business is still active. Do yourself a favor – do not sign with an agency that shows you tearsheets from a few years back; to avoid this mistake simply ask to see a few tearsheets with models they currently represent.
3. Look at the wall with comp cards of models already signed with the agency. This will be your competition.
4. Ask your interviewer who is currently the most booked model and why.
5. Inquire about the number of bookings a model gets with an agency per year.
6. Read the contract carefully. Are you going to be signing an exclusive agreement? It is my opinion that it’s better to be represented by multiple agencies non-exclusively. If your only option is an exclusive contract, make sure the agency not only generates enough business but is difficult to get into. Generally speaking, agencies that are more selective have better talent represented and that is where you want to be.
7. Do ask about the compensation the agency is offering.

Photographer: Pazza Photography
Hair and Make-up: Leigh Heasley
Model: Lily
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